Unspoken Rules on the London Underground

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Unspoken Rules on the London Underground

London calling guarantees that you will be subjected to travelling the tube at least once during your stay.  Entering into the bowels of London is all part of your travelling experience and soaking up the rather reserved norms of British culture. Suffice to say unless you pay heed to the unwritten rules that grace the London underground you are going to stand out like a lone zebra in the lion’s den. Not that everyone is out to mug or murder you, but uttering the wrong words, or any words indeed may cause you to suffer the irrefutable stiff upper lip treatment but there is always a chance of everything so it’s better to be prepared. Take a look at these unwritten rules of the tube that if followed could erase the tourist tattoo from your forehead.

london underground train Unspoken Rules on the London Underground

 

NO EYE CONTACT

You may be over the moon to be riding the tube on your way to visit the queen, enjoy your first English brekkie or to chase pigeons in the park; you are the only one feeling this spirit of joy and shouldn’t communicate it with your overwrought tube companions. These people are tired, they have baggy eyes, they are sick of the rain and they are probably going to work, in short they don’t want your beaming face in front of them. Trying to catch someone’s eye and offer a smile will send said person into panic mode and you will instantly be labelled a tube traveling maniac, possibly a crazed homeless person and someone who probably has a concealed weapon. Keep your head down and sigh a lot if you want to blend in.

 

NO TALKING

The tube demands silence, there are millions of people living in London and if they all talked on the tube then the noise would deafen the world and shatter the earth causing the universe to collapse in on itself. Even when traveling with a friend, you both should revert to your inner monologues and keep them in. the only time talking will be tolerated is after an evening ride home from the pub, then loud obnoxious beer fuelled yawping is ok, kind of. Never talk in the morning, or during rush hour, someone is likely to report you to the QUIET PLEASE police.

 

JOIN THE GREAT BOOK OFF

The book off is an ingenious invention in which you and fellow passengers bring a book onto the tube and all stand around this moving library without having to worry about accidental eye contact. The book off is the perfect way to avoid unnecessary encounters with strangers. Just make sure you don’t get caught reading fifty shades of grey on the underground because then you kind of deserve to be sardined out of the door and forced to walk in the worlds heaviest downpour Tottenham Court to atone for your sins of dodgy literature tastes.

 

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF

With five empty seats and fifty people wanting to bag them you need to leave your pleasantries on the platform. The only way you will enjoy the luxury of flopping down in minuscule comfort for your ninety million stop journey is if you have elbows and know how to use them. Do not fear the heavily pregnant woman, the old man weighed down with shopping bags or the kid with the broken leg. This is your seat and you earned it even if you did leave a trail of bashed in noses and disgruntled tubers.

london tube Unspoken Rules on the London Underground

 

HOLD ON TIGHT

Tubes are notorious for jolting starts and stops and woe betide the caught off guard traveller who falls into a strangers arm. Even if you happen to gently bump them, they will recoil in both fear and horror. Hold on tight to minimise the risk and in case of an unstoppable tumble aim for the doors, even if they are open, death on the tracks is certainly preferable to the social embarrassment you will inflict on another.

 

AVOID THE LEFT

Once you alight the tube make sure that you stick to the right of the escalator if you want the privilege of standing still. The left hand is for those busy bodies who feel the need to marathon up the stairs and if you block them, then you will be responsible for ruining their entire day. Tales will be told of you in the pub, you will make headline news and you shall be banished from the capital forever more. Of course they won’t tell you this, they will simply tut at you until you move.

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